The Rise of Professors of Economics and Business Studies in Switzerland: Between Scientific Reputation and Political Power

Thierry Rossier, Felix Bühlmann, André Mach

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This paper studies the rise of professors of economics and business studies in the second half of the 20th century in Switzerland. It focuses on three types of power resources: positions in the university hierarchy, scientific reputation and extra-academic positions in the economic and political spheres. Based on a biographical database of N = 487 professors, it examines how these resources developed from 1957 to 2000. We find that professors of economic sciences were increasingly and simultaneously successful on all three studied dimensions – especially when compared to disciplines such as law, social sciences or humanities. This evolution seems to challenge the notorious trade-off between scientific and society poles of the academic field: professors of economics and business increased their scientific reputation while becoming more powerful in worldly positions. However, zooming in on their individual endowment with capital, we see that the same professors rarely hold simultaneously a significant amount of scientific and institutional capital.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Sociology / Archives Europeennes de Sociologie
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)295-326
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Economics
  • Business studies
  • Professors
  • Switzerland
  • Power

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